Photo: Kenneth Capello
Photo: Kenneth Capello

K.Flay Brings Her Need For Noise To DC

When K.Flay kicks off the second part of her U.S. tour in DC this March, the alt-rock musician is bringing a lot of new experiences with her, including two Grammy nominations and a song written for the upcoming Tomb Raider movie. But even as she grows more established and her sound continues to evolve, she’s staying true to her raw, edgy sound.

The musician, best known for the popular, Grammy-nominated track “Blood in the Cut,” will be performing at 9:30 Club on March 12. Although she’s been touring Europe, DC remains one of her favorite places to perform.

“I always love playing in DC,” she says. “I feel like it’s one of those cities where live audiences are just full of energy and really awesome.”

While you can expect to hear the gritty vibes from her newest album Every Where is Some Where, K.Flay brings a new experience to her repertoire. The newest Tomb Raider hits theaters March 16 – in case dancing at her show isn’t enough K.Flay for you – and features a song written and performed by the songstress just for the movie: “Run For Your Life.” Although she hasn’t seen any of the previous movies or played the video game, her sound is a perfect match.

“This reboot [is] a bit different [than] the earlier movies. [Lara Croft is] just this complete badass, and they wanted a song that reflected that.”

Although the process of writing music for a movie was new – and a far cry from her usual writing process – K.Flay’s approach to the new experience was certainly reflective of the in-your-face attitude you hear in her music.

“Usually when I’m given an opportunity to do something new, I always want to do it.”

The artist’s fearless attitude is sorely needed in her genre and industry. She was recently one of the only women nominated for a Grammy in the rock category. In the era of the #MeToo movement, when the entertainment industry is both engaging in important dialogue and awards shows are under heavy scrutiny for their lack of diversity, her response to the lack of diversity among nominees in her genre is probably familiar to a lot of women – shocking, but not shocking.

“As a woman in the touring space, often [you are] one of very few – or perhaps the only – women around. I think there’s a lot of women making incredible rock music, and I’m certainly hoping that more of that is recognized in mainstream channels, like radio and awards ceremonies and big festivals.”

The highly publicized and criticized conversations coming out of the entertainment industry aren’t new though, K.Flay says. They’ve been happening quietly for a long time among her circle of friends, and she says she’s hopeful that things will get better.

But simply nominating more women for awards isn’t the only way to fix the issue, she says. Her solution, or at least a step in the right direction, is a more complicated one: allow minorities the same amount of nuance that those in power have.

“That spectrum of nuance is afforded to the people with the most power. The more different genres and spheres that women are occupying – and this isn’t just women, this is people of color [and] all sorts of sexualities as well – where are people allowed to live on these spectrums?”

Regardless of how these conversations continue in the entertainment industry, K.Flay intends to continue using her power for good.

“As a musician, I have the ability to be vocal. It’s not like I work for a law firm and they’re going to fire me. I have some latitude in my ability to express these things.”

Catch K.Flay at the 9:30 Club on March 12. Tickets are $20. And learn more about her at www.kflay.com.

9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; 202-265-0930; www.930.com

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Reem Nadeem

Reem is a Cairo-DC transplant, teacher and journalist. She has a B.A. in English from George Mason University. If she isn’t writing, teaching or staring longingly into the cat shelter next to On Tap’s office, she probably has her nose in a book.